Posts filed under ‘men of substance’
Every third of the month finds me writing your story and trying , as so many mothers try to do, keeping your life from just becoming another HYPHEN in between- 1980- 2009.
We are all forgotten eventually until some researcher of some far-flung future family descendent will
“look us up” . Most will find government documents for their information source. Will there be a version of the internet in those distant future years I don’t know? Most of us have not done anything “notable” to be remembered”.
I am often told , “Everyone has a story” and they are right. Every living thing or being on this planet has a story – even the tiny butterfly I watched after the storm a few days ago . Winds and a deluge of rain whipped the trees into a frenzied dance , newly formed apples were ripped from the branches and pelted down onto the fragile blossoms of summer flowers, battering them into submission. The storm went as quickly and as destructively as it came.
I looked out on the mess that was the front garden , the French Hydrangea ( which everyone despises but me ) was holding more than the blossoms – minutes after the storm a Red Admiral Butterfly was supping from the rain drops left on the leaves. I wondered how this tiny delicate creature could be slaking its thirst, seemingly unscathed , moments after such a turmoil of nature. I wondered at the “story” of the butterfly because he/she too had one. Our stories remain untold unless someone “tells ” it .
For many months I have tried to start “the book” to tell your story . I couldn’t find a place to begin – nothing seemed to work as a beginning. Then, thanks to a facebook post from a writer, I followed a link. The writer used a quote- an epiphany of sorts – so I have begun the book- because you are writing/illustrating this book.
NO LIMITS By Loraine Ritchey
“Nothing should be hidden or untouchable, if it is your truth and you stand behind it – no one should be able to silence you “
Brave words from my son, Christopher, on a fall day, his 4th year at Cleveland Institute of Art. I had met him for a meal in Tremont, Ohio. He was so very angry, one of his projects had met with resistance and indeed censorship. His anger and frustration spilled out:
Why were his thoughts not being accepted in a very community that accepts so much more than the general population? Why would he be censored in the very open environment of an art college where nothing it seemed was untouchable?
I will tell your story Chris- as hard as it is to write the whole of it ….. I will .. and I love you I so miss the in between , because that is all I have of you ………
It has been week of homesickness, not only for the country of my birth- England, but for my traditional values and a culture that still remain such an integral part of who I am. My cousin, has been visiting the old days, the family stories pulled out again , and laughter- something that I have not had too much of since losing my son.
I feel trapped by the values of others, I feel trapped by the thinking of the majority or those that have the power of the rules. It amazes me sometimes how this my new “hometown” has , by the sheer majority of religious beliefs and ethnic values” so differing for my own, has caused such unhappiness to this family.
Of course, I am talking about the Italian/ Polish religious community headed by Father Divis ( read Roman Catholic of St. Mary’s Lorain ) and we can do whatever we wish to do because thinking of the Lombardi Vyka Clan ( and now the Angela Murphy) control.
My son’s remains trapped in their toxic ground – without benefit of family . Of course Angela Lombardi Ritchey Murphy http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147
has moved on – dumped the possessions( that were not of any monetary value) and art work of my son- as soon as she could – after our Chris’s death but held onto those ashes. Why? she was done with Chris after the 2nd stem cell transplant failed- the show -put on was good for the “community” and they did it well! But never the less it was a show – Does she still require that “grave” place for the depositing of vodka , beer cans, cake and balloons?
I am amazed at the thinking – how does a woman profess to be a healer and turn around with such coldness and callousness of control as to deny a father his son in the darkest hour of any parent’s life?
I would ask any father, any mother reading this to look at your son or your daughter, imagine the horror of helplessly standing by watching them fight for each breath , nursing them every day of those last months of life, watching them die , having information kept from you by the “in law family, helpless and then have your flesh and blood and the last vestige of your child taken without your input or any consideration as to your wishes. Look at your son or daughter , try to imagine the pain and grief at losing them and you tell me tell me what these people did was right-
to put your son in a cemetery of their faith without you even being told they were doing so- and now of course “their moving on” Sue Lombardi , Tim Lombardi now mother and father in law to another Chris ( Murphy) – the do over wedding –
and all is forgotten but as long as my son remains in that place of disrespect- I will not forget.
We tip toe around the edges of Fathers Day- whilst his daughter tries so hard to be both of his children- the fact her brother is no longer here to share the breakfast at McDonald’s ( a tradition started when they were both little) . There is always the reminder Chris -
There is a tenaciousness being British- we don’t as a true Brit ever give up- I am not sure that is a good trait- so much easier to go with the flow- give in to the majority of put it away, move on, forget it, nothing we can do apathy , why try you are in the minority, thinking that pervades this community. But apart from being British I am also a mother and I carry my son in my heart and soul and his DNA in my body! Emotionally and physically he is with me still and always will be.
The waste of trying to make a difference lost on the “altars” of those who have the power.
So another Fathers Day- another reminder of wonder at the children given life- and another reminder of a death and a cruelty given to a Father who loved unconditionally.
To be continued
The sky was robin egg blue this morning, the lake kissed with silver and gold. The air cooling to those of fevered brow. A day of glory, when all young men and woman who have given their everything are to be thanked for giving us the peace of this day with the freedom to enjoy. Their voices are stilled , their presence hidden from our world and yet they speak and are heard in the laughter of each child who is without fear of living in this city on the shore. Their presence can be felt when the voices of debate are raised in opposing ideas.
This is their gift to us who remain- we must not forget , we must cherish the gift of life they have given to us and maybe just maybe if we are quiet and still in our reflection as their symbol of country is flown against the robin egg blue sky they will hear our gratitude and know their sacrifice was not in vain.
Eric Barnes Heroes Walk
Army 1st Sgt. Bruce Horner – Son of Ed and Betty Horner
Died June 1, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom assigned to the 127th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Support Command, Fliegerhorst, Germany; died in Seddah of wounds sustained when his unit came in contact with enemy forces using small-arms fire.
Airman 1st Class Eric Barnes – Son of Tom and Shary Barnes
Died June 10, 2007 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom assigned to the 90th Logistics Readiness Squadron, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo.; died as result of an improvised explosive device attack on an Air Force convoy about 100 miles south of Baghdad.
Marine Lance Corporal David Hall son of Delmar and Lulu Hall
Died August 31, 2009 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Aug. 31 in Garmsir, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations.
Marine Lance Corporal Joseph “Ryan” Giese son of Larry Giese and Connie Wascovich
Died January 7, 2011 Serving During Operation Enduring Freedom assigned to 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Jan. 7 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while conducting combat operations.
Sgt. Louis Torres son of Albert Torres and Armanda Ellis. who was fatally injured Aug. 6 in Afghanistan Sgt. Torres lost his battle with his wounds on August 22, 2012 .Torres was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington.
As long time readers are aware, a small koi- a Ghost Koi- was slipped into the pond on the last Mother’s Day my son and I shared –
Oh! Chris ! why would you buy another Koi? you know they never survive the winter”
“I needed to get this one and it’s Mother’s Day so you have to accept it “
And the next Mother’s Day was one of pain and cruelty unasked for “notes” from his bride had arrived - Angela Marie (Lombardi Ritchey) Murphy) Angela Murphy Do http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147
days and nights of water changes medicine but the Ghost Koi continued.
Then came the winter of my nightmares. The extreme cold caused the waterfall, which is made from a concrete like substance, to crack causing the water to leak out of the pond. The temperature was cold enough to freeze the mighty Niagara so even with heaters and aerator the water froze.
The day the concrete falls cracked open we lost nearly half the water in the pond. My husband had to first unfreeze the spickets and hoses in order to fill the pond to a level where the pumps would work. He then had to bypass the falls with piping in order to keep the water flowing, but the pipe would freeze. The pipe then had to insulated with a sleeve like design made out of a sleeping bag. Unfortunately, Shadow took great delight in pulling this off every chance she got.
My husband spent hours trying to keep the pond open in order for the gasses to escape and keep the fish safe. There was many a day he was out there in the 10 below temperature almost willing the water to run and the ice not to form. There were days that found me lying flat on my stomach in the snow chipping away at the ice on the end of the piping so the pump would continue. All for a fish , a fish given on that last Mothers Day.
Spring has come late this year. The pond is usually up and running and the fish awake by late March but it has only been in recent days life has returned to the pond . The water is still murky but a Ghost Koi, larger now than ever before, swims under the water fall once more and reminds me of a another Mother’s Day……..
Friday, was Mother’s Day for me , my mum, Nikki and two little boys went to the “fish” restaurant of choice “Red Lobster”. The boys eagerly watched two lobsters fighting in the tank but ate macaroni and cheese.
Then on to Pandys and Lowes for plants. I am not sure there will be any rhyme or reason to the garden this year as Gavin and Braedyn loved the plant shopping and filling the carts to overflowing. Certainly not paying attention to directions of “sun – full sun – shade partial shade” . Little hands distributing love and flowers , excitement in innocent eyes as they picked up more and more . There should be some interesting plantings this year because each plant was given with love and so couldn’t be put back.
My tears falling once more, my heart in hurt as I remember when a little girl and her brother would look up with the same excitement in their eyes as they gave their Mother’s Day gifts and one Mother’s Day when a small silver fish was slipped into a pond – a ghost of remembrance and a love that grows…
I have been trying to deal with so many “confluences” beating against me since your death- things change and yet stay the same. I have been hoarding memories, as there are no new memories to be made. I realize I can no longer pull your face into my mind -sight with out the effects of the damned cancer. I can look at photos of the before and “smile at the old days” but when I think of your face it is with “pain and dying”. So I run from the image, it is so much agony to stay.
I wrote in the previous post about the “culture” club when I first arrived here and I was taken back to a time of the Scots.
The Highland Arts became quite important and took up a lot of time in those early days of your life. Your sister dancing , your father piping and I was on the performance trail with Jean Schaeffer and Mary Queen of Scots
and writing for Dancer Magazine with a Highland Highlights column.
Yes! Scotland and the Celts took up a lot of time and money.
Whilst your sister sat atop Nessie that year a little boy was “kilted” and part of the festivities of that International Festival.
We travelled here and there , I was usually at the dancing and you were with your Dad.
- I believe, out of boredom with the dancing venue and more in tune ( no pun intended ) you started on the pipes.
But you and your sister were never far apart from one another, usually moaning about judges and having to be in competition but there were good times and memories I will cherish til the day I hear the pipes calling me home.
You grew into a teenager and all that goes with it , as I remember, the last time we persuaded you to attend the piping college only met with your agreement because of a dancer you had met , who was also attending that week-long event. It wasn’t love for Scottish arts that pulled you to Oberlin that year but girl from Illinois
It was the last time you attended – Soccer became all important and you were good but you had a talent for the pipes – you just hated the practice….. But I know all things Celtic never left you altogether
I wish so many things , I wish I could see your happy smiling face once more in my minds eye without the cloud of cancer.
“It is a reverend thing to see an ancient castle or building not in decay or to see fair timber tree sound and perfect; but how much more to see an ancient noble family which hath stood against the waves and weather of time- for now nobility is but the act of power, but ancient nobility is the act of time.” Bacon’s Essays, XIV
Thursday night of last week ( and before I so rudely interrupted the “Lorain History” flow – with my own personal “history”) a group of Charleston Village volunteers and bloggers stopped in to open the box and maps from the Gillmore family history.
It was truly , for me, like watching children on Christmas morning, the excitement as each map was unrolled, the archivists with their gloves carefully holding corners and gently handling the items as if they were thousands of years old . Greater care could not have been taken if they had unearthed a treasure from ancient Egypt . This was Lorain’s history , young though it is, in the grand scheme of time. Delight- as some recognized their family information in the first phone book, the street maps and city directories telling of long forgotten family history .
Newspapers, crumbling, but still telling a tale ,
Writing back of Gilmore home photo O . H. Gillmore 403 Oberlin Avenue , Lorain Ohio
4th and Oberlin Elizabeth McKay Gilmore and children Frank ( lin?) Aura (/) McKay on porch and dog Pug (?)
A little shade tree planted with care
was still growing there – but no longer – taken down April 2012 to make way for the utilities
all spread out under the eager and shining eyes of those that care for the history mystery that is unraveling and telling a forgotten tale …. to be continued
The domain in the garden past the pond
is a place I don’t frequent- it was and is your father’s “area’ and like his basement not a place I care to go or for which to take responsibility. The Weeping Willow hid a lot of his sins- but that too had to go last spring.
I still kept to my end of the garden and closed my eyes to the time it was taking to get the garden back into some sort of order. The truth be told I no longer had the “energy to fight the blight” that is the male idea of “need.
But one day , late last summer , I could stand it no longer and I had to do “something’ to tidy up. I moved the wrought iron trellis which had been leaning up against the garden wall. I positioned the trellis by the side of the garage over the curve in the pathway by the boat. Hopefully this would hide the “boat” from my view, a job the Willow did so well. I took the grape vines that were in abundance and tied them up on to the trellis. Then, as I precariously stood upon the step-ladder, I turned toward the garage to tie in the next side of the trellis. My eyes became fixed , not really taking in what I was seeing – they saw where you had left your name in paint on the garage wall.
Unexpected, as it was, the effect was instantaneous I felt my knees buckle , my breath catch, and those eyes that have cried so many days and nights filled once more with tears. I was transported back from the present once again, in the memory of my mind, to another place and time where once again we walked, talked, hoped and waited in vain for a cure ………..no work of art ever touched me so profoundly as that signature .
Oh! the explanation is simple enough you were , that spring , helping your father to paint the side of the garage – but everything went wrong – cancer and chemo put paid to painting but not before you had taken a brush and used your energy to write your name in the old paintwork.
Your father told me that he couldn’t bring himself to paint over your name so there it has stayed these many , many months, unbeknownst to me, as I never venture past the pond if I can help it. .
I can still see the energy you used in the writing of your name , the pressure of the brush to wood, the adding of paint to the brush as you proclaimed “you were here at that time” .
Not being an artist or an art critic, I was always a little perplexed when I would hear ” the energy of the brushwork”- but here it was – not a Van Gogh or even a Boccioni http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umberto_Boccioni
or Julia Watkins https://www.facebook.com/pages/Energy-Artist-Julia-Watkins/69027658560
Just a young man on a warm spring day leaving his mark on the garage before he painted over it -something that never happened. Yet, seeing your name, left there these many months brought home once more how I much I still love you , a love that grows and doesn’t diminish , miss you, your laughter and your energy
My heart is in pieces and I miss you more than life itself………. and yes it is “Hard” harder than I ever thought possible to bear.
A few days ago, on December 3rd, I published another “remembering” of my son Chris.
I have, as long- time readers know, used the 3rd of every month to write about Chris, his life, the story of our journey, our pain and yes, anger .
I mentioned in the December 3rd post how I had been contacted to be part of a project on how grieving parent memorialize their children. I am now, since the project has been presented, going to share some of the interview questions put to me and the answers as to ‘WHY “THIS WAY” TO MEMORIALIZE’?
Please describe the photograph and any special meaning the objects in it may have (such as a headstone inscription, meaning of items placed in a space dedicated to a child, or anything else you feel is important).
The photograph is of my son and some of his art work. I have made a collage of a few that have meanings for him and me.
For example, the baseball hat with the flag and the word freedom was the slide that appeared behind him as he crossed the stage at his graduation from Cleveland Institute of Art. Each graduate was required to put together a slide which told who they were- this was who Chris decided he was.
The “Hands” artwork in the background was homework, sketches of different hands – my son was throwing it out after his first year and I loved it so much I wanted to frame it – it didn’t fit in the frame so he folded the one edge. After he died I had it professionally framed they informed me they could take out the crease but, he had put in the fold and I wanted it left. It was significant to leave it for me.
The reason for the collage of his artwork[ as our memorial] is due to the fact his bride[ Angela (Lombardi) Ritchey]
http://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff_directory/staff_display.aspx?DoctorID=16147 took from us his cremains and buried them without our knowledge or input.
Therefore we haven’t a place or memorial in the traditional sense.
I have had a blog for many years which covers many, many subjects. After Chris’s death and the terrible cruelty that followed including the statement[ a letter sent 4 months after Chris death by Angela Ritchey DO ] “I didn’t know my son”
I then started writing about what we were going through and going on a journey “In search of my son”
Part 19 of the series and links to the other posts are part of our journey.
using his work to illustrate my thoughts.
I, then wrote to “him”[Chris} my thoughts on the 3rd of every month for a year, and have continued to do so for the past 3 years and 10 months [the time when I was contacted for the project] although my blog covers other subjects, I continue to use his art work to illustrate my thoughts and reporting on various subjects
When did you first begin memorializing/remembering your child in this way?
The day I read his obituary in the local paper written by his “in-laws” – my son was so much more than the paltry self-serving piece written in the paper.
I could not let those words be the last words written about my son. So I used my blog (which is well read) not only for him but it has become cathartic for me.
It doesn’t matter if thousands read about his life or just one – his story is there and in some sense his art still speaks for him.
to be continued……………
NOTE: all my posts, the reactions to what happened to this family is backed up with written documentation by the parties involved as well as witnesses to the events of what I consider to be despicable, cruel and selfish behaviours by ” those that controlled” – they are in fact the “enablers’ of this memorial for without the decisions made by The Lombardis, Vykas , Gotts, Zaworski and Gonzales http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/a-memory-of-vipers-chris-ritchey/
If things had been handled by them -with humanity, kindness, respect and thought for Chris’s family at the lowest point in any parents life instead of putting us in a realm where we “didn’t exist” – this aspect of my blog would not exist.……..
They have themselves to thank their behaviours are here!